Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, is under fire for suggesting that there should be a law that would make church attendance mandatory for Americans every Sunday.
During a committee hearing on Tuesday about legislation which would allow individuals who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring them into public buildings, Allen declared that she felt the committee should be debating a bill about mandatory church attendance instead of guns.
"I believe what's happening to our country is that there is a horrible erosion of the soul of America," said Allen whose comments were first highlighted on Twitter by Democratic Sen. Steve Farley of Tucson, who was at that same meeting.
"You can use knives, you can use whatever, it is the soul that is corrupt. And how we get back to a moral rebirth in this country I don't know since we are slowly eroding religion in every opportunity that we have," she noted before suggesting: "Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth." She later added "that would never be allowed."
In an interview with KPHO Farley said even if church attendance would stop moral decay, the idea goes against the U.S. Constitution.
"Even if you believe that would stem the moral decay, I think the Constitution makes it very clear that our country is founded on the pillar of separation of church and state," said Farley.
On Wednesday, in a follow-up interview with Arizona Capitol Times, Allen refused to apologize for the suggestion calling it a "flippant comment."
She lamented however how America has strayed from the Christian culture she was raised in in the 1950s.
"People prayed, people went to church," she said. "I remember on Sundays the stores were closed …The biggest thing is religion was kicked out of our public places, out of our schools."